AT&T and two data brokers have been hit with a class action lawsuit from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) over the sale of AT&T customers’ real-time location data. According to a report on Vice.com, the lawsuit filed in California seeks an injunction against AT&T, which would ban the company from selling any more customer location data and ensure that any data that has already been sold, is destroyed.
Violation of Several Laws Alleged
This move comes after multiple Motherboard investigations found that AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon sold their customers’ data to so-called location aggregators. The information ended up in the hands of bounty hunters and bail bondsmen. The lawsuit alleges that for the practice of selling customer data without notifying users is deceptive, as well as being illegal and an invasion of people’s privacy.
The class-action lawsuit represents three AT&T customers in California who were not aware that the company sold access to their location. The complaint said the “plaintiffs were emotionally distressed by the discovery that their location data was sold” to third parties without their consent.
Holding Corporations Accountable
When companies sell customers’ real-time locations to third parties, the consequences can have serious consequences. Other than vehicles being repossessed and bounty hunters finding their targets, the information could fall in the wrong hands. This has the potential to be a matter of life and death.
We hope this class-action lawsuit prevents companies like AT&T from selling this type of sensitive information without notifying customers. In response to the lawsuit, AT&T has argued that customers have no right to sue over the sale of location data because of a forced arbitration clause in its contract. T-Mobile presented a similar argument in its court filing.
As California class action lawyers, we hope that these companies that may have violated the privacy and rights of millions of customers are held accountable. Consumers have the right to stand up against the large corporations, not just to protect their valuable privacy, but to shut down this illegal operation.